Quick Hits

HP says it plans to launch some of its handhelds into outer space. A few lucky HP iPaq Pocket PC h5550 units will find themselves onboard TransOrbital’s TrailBlazer spacecraft later this year. The handhelds will integrate with the TrailBlazer systems on board the spacecraft, helping TransOrbital to synchronize and share data while in space, during transit to the moon and lunar orbit. HP hopes that during subsequent launches, iPaqs will be used for wireless communication with cameras tethered on the outside of the spacecraft. Future applications may include the ability to communicate via e-mail with the Trailblazer lunar orbiter while it is circling the moon, and once it’s on the moon’s surface, HP officials said. TransOrbital said its first moon mission will provide high definition TV views of equipment left behind from past space shutle landings. It will also deliver a time capsule containing personal messages and artifacts such as “certificates, business cards, cremated remains, jewelry, artwork and many other items of choice” – all for the low, low price of US$2,500 per gram. Due to velocity and lunar surface issues, TransOrbital said it can’t guarantee the state of the payload upon arrival.

The craze is already here…

It’s still three months before tinsel and jingle bells usurp the shelves of retail outlets. But eBay.ca has already started pushing Santa’s elves out of the spotlight by promoting itself as a “one-stop holiday shopping destination.” According to a statement by eBay Canada executive Daryl Aitken, users of the online service are pioneering a redefinition of the “traditional holiday shopping experience,” which usually includes packed parking lots and long lineups. He says toys, electronic gadgets and decorative items for the home are already dazzling ecstatic shoppers, who can ferret for and bid on whatever their hearts desire. And for hopelessly impatient folk, eBay’s “Buy Now” feature allows them to purchase an item at a fixed price without having to wait for the bidding to end – ensuring instant gratification, which, after all, is the true meaning of the holidays…isn’t it? Sources say the elves are not amused with the hostile move.

‘Net bingo plays fair

Dot com Entertainment Group Inc. (DCEG) says it has received a U.S. patent for a new client-server model Internet bingo system promoted by DCEG’s affiliate, Parlay Entertainment Ltd. The firm claims the system eliminates any potential advantage to players with network connection speeds that are faster than those of

other players. The system also ensures that a player with a winning game card will still win, even if his or her Internet connection is interrupted during the course of a game, the company promises. “The technology behind (the) patent ensures fairness for all players, regardless of network connection speed and access,” DCEG’s CEO David Outhwaite said in a statement. Upon hearing the news, bingo aficionados cursed with sluggish Internet connections reportedly tossed their dabbers in the trash, thrilled that they would no longer have to leave their homes and interact with other people in order to get their fix.